McLean’s Selections for the Fair Grounds on Sunday, Feb. 10

Day Results9-3-5-4
2019 Overall 208208/74-81-99
Win % of Top Pick35.58%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall40.71%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –142 of 20868.27%
Top Selection ITM / FG Nov-Mar 269-38769.51%
Top Selection Win / FG Nov-Mar 147-38737.98%
“Key Horses” @ FG Nov-Mar 88-40-18-1145.45%
“Key Horses” in 2019 60-24-12-840.00%

We had 3 winners out of the 9 races on Saturday, but our biggest claim to fame was picking a couple of nice long shots. Out of the 9 races, we had payoffs from our top pick in 7 of them. In 5 of them, our top picked rendered a positive “Return on Investment.”

The nicest win was a $20 return for a simple $2 across the board wager. We also had a $17.30 return for a $2 win-place-show bet. In addition we had returns of $7.20, $7.80, $9.60.

In the exacta department, our biggest win was a return of $99.40 for each $1 played. We had 4 other exactas return a positive ROI.

Here’s a closer look at today’s card:

1st: 7-1/8-2/4/3-9…This is a bargain bin event for the LA-breds only, and I will go with Flying Rosie (7). This 4YO Songandaprayer filly is coming off three straight races where she has hit the board. Ran second over the slop here last out. In 7 tries over a fast main track, she has a 1-2-0 mark. The barn hits with .13% of those returning as the beaten favorite. Will stalk the lead and close a bit. This will be the second trip with Lasix. Take heed. Tears for Paula (1) could be the main competition. Draws the rail, and the #1 is winning at a .18% rate at this 1-mile distance. Won last time out, and now moves up to face winners for the first time. The barn hits with .18% of those kind. Hot rider at the wheel. I bet the 7-1 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 7-1 over/under the 8-2-4 in two smaller versions.

2nd: 7-5/4-3/2…For the second straight race, I will focus on the #7 — Philosophy (7). This 3YO Speightstown colt was super impressive two starts back when he led gate-to-wire in one of these 5.5-furlong sprint specials. Took the lead in the last out, when facing winners for the first time. Sputtered at the end of that one. But should have learned a nice lesson, too. Could be a tough out on the lead here. Tobacco Road (5) tries the grass for the first time and drops into the claiming ranks for the first time, as well. It was not too long ago that the connections were talking KY Derby with this 3YO son of Quality Road. Figures to get claimed today, for sure. After all, he won the Ellis Park Juvenile over Manny Was, and ran third in the Clevor Trevor Stakes behind Long Range Toddy. Gets the grass for the first time today, and the dam of this one has already thrown 5 grass winners. Take note: I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the 5-7 in the exacta. I will key the 5 over the 7-4-3-2 in another exacta, as well.

3rd: 8-5/6-1/4…A MCL event for the LA-breds, and I will give the edge to Comebackwilson (8). This one ran second at this same level last time out. Gets a hot rider in the saddle, and the barn hits with a solid .12% across the board. Likes the front end and will be motoring. Balance Due (5) will be making the career debut for a barn that hits with only .05% of those making the first start in the MCL ranks. But the dam of this one has 4 winners from 4 starters and this one has been training “just OK” (as the AT&T ads would tell you). Gets the meet’s top rider in the irons. Can’t hurt. I bet the 8-5 across the board and then box those two solidly in the exacta. I will key the 8-5 over/under the 6-1-4 in two smaller versions.

4th: 4-2-8/6-7-3/5-1…The second of four grass races carded today, and I will spread out a bit here. I give the top notch to Artistic Quality (4), who has made 9 starts to date without a win yet. But…This 5YO Lemon Drop Kid mare does have 5 seconds and 2 thirds in that mix. Comes off a nice second here on Nov. 29. Nearly closed well enough to win that day and the winner has already come back to win. Has faced some tougher ones in the past. If she can run the same race as she did in the last one, she could be really tough here. Needs running room late. Orageuse (2) comes from the barn of Brendan Walsh, and she nearly won when making the first start for this barn on Jan. 17. Closed off a stalking spot to nearly get the job done. Barn hits with .16% of those making the second start for the new connections. Sharp work here on Feb. 5. Really nice. I Love to Race (8) is trained by my good friend Louie Roussel, and will be making the second career start. Barn hits with .17% of them doing that on the sod. Training lights out and gets the meet’s top rider in the saddle. Do yourself a favor and include this 4YO daughter of Curlin in the mix. I bet the 4-8 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

5th: 2/1A/5-1-3-6/4…The first Key Play of the Day comes right here with Telekinesis (2). This one nearly won as the favorite last time out here on Jan. 18 when making his first start in 5 months. Hooked a stubborn one in Drena’s Star and couldn’t get by. Probably needed that race for conditioning. If he does not bounce coming out of that one, he should dominate today. This is one talented son of Ghostzapper. Nearly won the G3 Lexington against My Boy Jack last spring. Loves this track, too. Adds up for me. I bet the 2 to win/place and then key the 2 over/under the 1A. I will key the 2 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed.

6th: 11-8/9-4/10-6-2…This is an endurance try over the grass, and I will go to the outside to line up for this one. The outside posts have been “death knells” most of the entire meet. But this race is so long (19/16-mile) that it should not matter, as much. As a result, I will go with my best horses — despite the bias. Señor Blanco (11) gets the top nod. This 5YO Illinois-bred is dropping to a career-low level after running well against much better in recent history. If you toss the awful last place performance in the last outing — which was over a “good” grass course — then this one had hit the board in 8 of the last 9, with a fourth. Had 4 wins in that mix, too. I look for a strong return to form, and would not be shocked to see this one plucked for the asking price. Yeowzer (8) has hit the board in 8 of the last 9 outs, as well. Comes off a second at Sam Houston. Steps it up for this bunch, but the barn has hit with .28% of the last 1,613 starts. Knows where the winner’s circle is located, although this one is 0-0-2 in 7 starts here. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then key the 11 over/under the rest of the numbers listed.

7th: 2/1/4-6-3/5…My second Key Play of the Day comes right here with Sultry (2). This one has not raced since last March, and that is a true concern. But she has run OK coming off the bench before and she is training lights out at the Palm Meadows Training facility in South Florida for the barn of Eddie Kenneally. Trainer is having a solid meet and does OK with those off this long, winning with .14%. Gets a top rider for this assignment, and this 4YO daughter of Malibu Moon has run in 4 Graded Stakes races out of the 8 career starts. Should appreciate this company for the return effort. I bet the 2 to win/place/show. I will key the 2 over/under the 1. I will also key the 2 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed.

8th: 3-7-6/2-8/1-4…The final grass race on the card today, and I will give the edge to Landofthepharaohs (3). This one comes from the barn of Tom Amoss, who is having a super meet here. Ran second the last two times out, when employing different strategies. Has plenty of speed and gets the meet’s top jock in the irons. Has only 1 win in 9 starts, but 5 seconds. Could be time to add another. Most Mischief (7) ran on the grass for the first time in the last outing, and ran OK after hitting the gate at the start. Barn hits with .21% of those making the second grass start, and this one should appreciate the added distance today. Gets a solid rider-trainer combo. Tom Management (6) won on debut here on Dec. 26. Went nearly gate-to-wire and has speed at the longer distances. Barn hits with .24% of those moving up to face winners for the first time. I bet the 3-7 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

9th: 4-6-8/2-3-7/1-1A…Today’s finale appears to be a wide open affair. I will spread out a bit and focus the betting strategy on the top 3 numbers, led by Cha Mono (4). This one goes for the meet’s top jock, and a barn that is doing well here. Comes off a second in the last out and has hit the board in 7 of the last 9 outs with two fours in that mix. Loves to be close at the wire, despite having only 5 wins in 39 starts. New rider could prove to be the difference. Moonlighting Majic (6) and No Richie (8) figure in the mix, as well. I bet the 4 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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